Lanka PM fails to forge broad new political alliance
Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday failed to announce the formation of a new broad political alliance for the presidential election later this year amid internal dissension within his United National Party (UNP). The UNP was scheduled to sign MoUs with several other political parties to form the alliance on Monday. However, the signing of MoUs was postponed at the last minute. Wickremesinghe in a statement said the UNP has decided to form the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) before the end of August, as he stressed the need for the grand political alliance to fight the presidential election in order to win it. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USAt the final talks to form the alliance several new ideas came up, so we decided to delay the formation in order to give more time for deliberations,” the UNP leader said. The ceremony which should have been held on Monday was postponed as a faction led by the UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa objected to the formation of the alliance before naming the party’s next presidential candidate. We want the party to name the next candidate before announcing the alliance,” Ajith P Perera, a Premadasa loyalist said. The UNP rank and file had also raised concerns about the prominence given to other smaller parties. We should not allow smaller parties to dominate us,” Chaminda Wijesiri, a UNP legislator said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsArjuna Ranatunga, the legendary world cup winning cricket captain and a key UNP ally said if the UNP party leaders think they could go alone and win it (presidential elections), be it. Wickremesinghe stressed that the victory in the presidential election which must be held before December 8, this year could only be achieved through a broader political alliance of all parties. The UNP’s Tamil and Muslim minority allies have expressed concerns over UNP’s internal disagreements which they say should be resolved before the formation of the alliance.